Three days of cloudy and windy conditions here makes the announcement that winter is coming with the change of seasons. It also means that Bob Brenly is returning to the Arizona Diamondbacks as a announcer. He was part of the Chicago Cubs WGN team for 8 seasons and he replaces Mark Grace who had a few too many DUI's but Grace can always come back to broadcast Cubs on WGN, provided if they don't go overboard with all those Walker Texas Ranger repeats. Brenly will hook up with Steve Bethiaume one of the least annoying ESPN Sportcenter announcers. It should make a good team and wishing Brenly all the best as he continues not to stray too far from the Arizona sun.
The Arizona State Fair begins this week. Too bad I'm not there to enjoy that or the 20 dollar parking fees to park in the Fairgrounds.
Before the snow flies one more Madison bargain hunt will be planned. Davenport comes later, looks like we may attempt to do Black Friday down in the Quad Cities. But for the most part I must get back to record something for my hobby band since they have been howling for me to stay away from the record and thrift stores, Richard Dennanbaugh threatening to even have me locked up in the recording studio for two weeks. Heartless bastard ain't he?
A lot of the stuff that was tacked on the top ten came from the Wicked Cool Records Blowout at Best Buy the past couple weeks, since Best Buy is throwing inventory into the Clarence bins for 5 bucks or less, but anything on Wicked Cool has been a dollar tops. Such a shame that for all the promo that Little Steven and Best Buy gave this that the CDs didn't do better than hoped they would, blame the fuckers at Cumulus and Clear Channel Corporate Cocksuck radio for that. I have total distain for ALL of the CCC CCS Radio (or my new found term 5 C's radio) since all KDAT wants to do is annoy us with Sheryl Crow crap and the Don't Yell At Me singers which also is a plague on top forty Autotuned radio KZIA, and of course Train's Soul Sister. Hard to believe I gave these chumps a A- on their debut album, which still holds up but is a far cry from the cry for the radio spot that Save Me San Francisco and California 37 turned out to be. Thought that SMSF was a bad one off but Cal 37 turned out to be more of ploy for the radio. Fuck that and fuck them too. I'm not sure if all the Best Buy's in the area are cleaning house, not going to waste time and gas going to every one of them but the CR BB still have a couple copies of Spike Jones In Stereo, his WB Halloween parody that Collector's Choice reissued years ago. They also have 20 copies of Big Head Todd's Big album to which I got free years ago in the mail. It's very good but I don't play it much. I usually don't play Digipak albums all that much since I don't like them. But nevertheless most of the Wicked Cool stuff from bands that couldn't sell them are at the local BB store, as well as a few choice Coolest Songs In The World Series and CBGB's Forever.
As we shape up the month with more new music Donald Fagen has recorded more albums in the past four years than the Townedger have and he returns with Sunken Condos (Reprise) which reminds me a lot of Gaucho, the Steely Dan 1980 album, it's certainly more funkier than the lackluster that was Morph The Cat. At least Donald sounds like he's more awake this time out as he delivers a blue eyed soulful I'm Not The Same Without You although he's out of his element on Out Of The Ghetto, an Isaac Hayes cover. Another misstep is the wordy Memorabilia which threatens to devour the singer into a mush of 'what the hell is he sayin?' What the Hell did I just say in that last statement, I don't know. If Fagen still had the vocal like he did on the Nightfly this would be just as solid as that record but since time and age hasn't treated Fagen's vocals all that well (although he sings better than Bob Dylan, so can you) Sunken Condos is a album that relies a lot on the music. It's funky and it's jazzy but it's neither either one, it's jazz for people who hate jazz. Still Fagen always gets top notch players on his efforts and this is no exception. It's better than Morph The Cat but then again you can probably live without it unless you like Steely Dan or The Night Fly. And hate jazz in the process.
And KI$$ er KISS is back with a new album of 12 rocking 70s type tunes that basically are rewrites of Rock And Roll All Night or Shout It Out Loud but then again I'm a sucker for 70s type glam pop rock that made KISS who they are. And although they're no Peter or Ace, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer know their style quite well, after all Singer did play in Black Sabbath, and Bad Lands and Thayer was in Black n Blue that made a few good to great albums for Geffen (although their worst album was produced by Gene $immons) Monster (Universal) continues to the back to basics without song doctors help that made their last album Sonic Boom a fun listen although Mark Prindle loved the KISS remakes better than actual new songs. Prindle also didn't care much for the juvenile lyrics that Simmons tends to rehash but there's a certain charm to the caveman headed stuff like Back To The Stone Age or Eat Your Heart Out, a song that Ted Nugent would die to claim one of his own. And there's no ballads here whatsoever another plus. Simmons may be right that Peter or Ace couldn't fit into this day and age KI$$, Thayer and Singer have really bonded well into this new effort. Naw, it's no Destroyer or hell Rock And Roll Over or Love Gun, it owes more toward Hotter Than Hell and KISS Live for inspiration and leaves behind the dammed unmasked era of the 80s in a cloud of dust and a stack of Marshalls to boot. Monster is how I remember them and 70s hard rock and roll in all it's glory, three chords and dumb lyrics about rock and roll, all done for the love of rock and roll. And the almighty dollar too.
Jamey Johnson is too country for country nowadays. He doesn't sing bullshit stuff like girls that like to shake it, trucks and wallet chains unlike the Brantley Gilberts or whatever the fuck the Peach Pickers Trailer Trash is puking up for country radio. To me, Johnson is more country than perhaps the other outlaw Eric Church but then again I don't think Eric Church would ever pal around with Hank Cochran which is the subject of Jamey's new tribute to Cochran, Living For A Song-A Tribute to Hank Cochran (Mercury Nashville). In fact Johnson manages to get some of the older Country elite' (Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare, Ronnie Dunn plus Lee Ann Womack, Emmy Lou Harris and Alison Krauss on the female side to pay tribute to Cochran via the many songs that Hank wrote. In fact Willie Nelson's early stuff suggested that Cochran was a influence and for 16 songs, Johnson doesn't stand out but rather blends in the background, giving each and every guess vocalist part of the line of the song. Tribute albums seldom work but this one is a labor of love and at the tail end of the song Johnson even lets the legend Cochran take the final line on the title track and it's a haunting but fitting way to end the record on a high note. In a era that which country music is watered down Eagles or bad southern rock, Jamey Johnson remains in line with a Waylon or George to which one day he envisioned having his music between them. That came true and Jamey Johnson remains the true honky tonk star that doesn't need boom boom speakers or a wallet chain to get the point across. In the great beyond both Waylon and Hank are smiling with approval. And that's good enough for me.
Donald Fagen-Sunken Condos B
Jamey Johnson-Living For A Song A Tribute To Hank Cochran A-